When arthritis in the knee becomes severe, it can significantly impact a patient’s life in negative ways. First, where there is arthritis, there is pain. But in addition to experiencing regular pain and swelling, arthritic knees are also limited in their mobility, so a patient with this condition also suffer reduced flexibility, range of motion and ultimately, a reduced quality of life.
When an orthopedic knee specialist diagnoses a case of severe arthritis, he or she may determine that the best course of treatment for the patient is joint replacement surgery. If the arthritis is equally as developed in both knees, bilateral total knee arthroplasty surgery may be recommended. The goal of this procedure is to reduce pain and restore mobility so that the patient can regain independence and the ability to perform regular, daily functions and get back to the activities they love.
3 Things to Know About Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasty Surgery
What is the difference between “simultaneous” and “staged” bilateral knee replacement? If the damaged knees are replaced with prosthetic joints on both sides during the same surgical event (under one anesthesia), the procedure is called a simultaneous arthroplasty. If both the left and right knee need to be replaced, but a separate surgery is scheduled for each, the bilateral arthroplasty is consider “staged.”
Obviously, having only one hospital stay and single rehabilitation period are some of the primary reasons that patients often prefer a simultaneous bilateral knee replacement surgery. However, for some patients there are increased complications that come with a simultaneous arthroplasty, so each case should be carefully considered by an orthopedic knee surgeon.
What are the most common potential complications of this procedure? As with any major surgery, infection and blood loss are always potential complications. Patients should always carefully follow instructions for post-surgical home care in order to reduce the risk of complications with the incision sites. If a patient feels that he or she is maintaining wounds that are failing to heal properly, they should contact their physician immediately.
What kind of results can I expect after surgery? As stated above, the primary goals of bilateral knee replacement are pain relief and restored function. In terms of the success rates of the surgery, both the simultaneous and staged options provide excellent results and as well as a high probability of a successful, complication-free procedure.
Because the material used in the prosthetic joint pieces is extremely durable, the long term outlook of a bilateral total knee arthroplasty surgery is also favorable. Patients should expect a greater than 95% chance of success at 15 years.